January 21, 2004
Dear Ms. Boyce
The North Okanagan Labour Council is concerned about Windsor Manor's plans to lay off some 50 employees and hire new workers at greatly reduced salaries.
This is a decision in which everyone loses and we urge you to go back to the table to work out an agreement with your employees' union. We understand the union is ready to negotiate and has some ideas to put forward, if given the chance.
Just because new provincial legislation allows you to make this drastic move doesn't mean it's right. Firing your workers and replacing them with a less-skilled, lower-paid, higher-turnover staff won't be to anyone's benefit.
We're willing to bet you won't find the cost savings you might expect from this move. With a lower-paid staff, many of your new employees will be constantly on the lookout for better-paying jobs. You will likely find yourself stuck with a high turnover and, therefore, higher training costs.
By paying your employees a decent wage they can support a family on, you will ensure stability in your staffing.
Certainly, with an under-paid, high-turnover staff, your residents will not receive the same level of quality care they have become accustomed to. It also can't be good for the residents to see staff members they have known for years suddenly leave and be replaced by a complete group of strangers.
We urge you to reconsider and reverse this decision. Talk to your union. With a little effort and goodwill, you might be surprised what you can actually accomplish.